I played with the title of this blog a bit… at first it was going to be “I’m still learning how to be a Writer”, but the reality is that anyone with the inclination can write. (Note that I’m always thankful that I have been blessed with education).
But just because you have held a fishing line a few times in your life, does not qualify you to be called a fisherman.
It’s the same with writing; I want to be someone who is continuously writing, developing their craft. For the purposes of this blog post, a writer is someone who can write, an author is someone who must write.
I’ve blogged about it before several times and every book I have ever read about writing highlights discipline as a necessary attribute; perhaps the biggest. I have to admit, in the last week or so my writing discipline has been a little lax. I’ve chosen to do other things, which is pretty stupid given the limited time that I have and how that impacts on my writing goals.
This time it was computer games that were my siren song of undoing, and I have put them on notice: If I fall to their melody again I will be purging them entirely (so as to make re-acquisition something that would take hours, not minutes).
Planning vs Free-fall
I’ve blogged about these before too – the two methods of writing a story (and there are numerous synonyms for the terms): outlining the story first or letting the story just happen more organically.
To-date my writing consists of one novel and one novelette which is not a lot of experience.
My first novelette Escape from Hell (available free) was all free-fall. I had a flash of inspiration where I saw the whole story and it virtually wrote itself in a few weeks.
My novel Vengeance Will Come came about largely through ‘free-fall’. I had a vague idea of the plot and could see a rough outline of the characters. I lined them all up along a cliff, and then pushed them off, leaping after them to see what would happen. I was about three quarters of the way through my descent when I realised I was flailing big-time. I had to stop and plan because the end wasn’t making itself seen. Without planning, the project would have died entirely. At this point in my experience arc I thought planning was awesome and I was definitely going to do it that way in the future.
However the opposite happened with my second novelette The Rebel Queen. I did some preparation work, but then found myself getting stuck because the preparation was drying out my enthusiasm for the story. So with enough material to hopefully make a parachute on the way down, I’m leaping off the edge.
So clearly I’m still learning what suits me best and in what ratio I need to plan or free-fall.